Friday, July 31, 2015

Freebie Friday: Kids Summer Reading Programs and more

My son is doing well with his summer reading (although sometimes it is still a fight to get in the 20 minutes for the day).  His school promised if they got enough reading from all of the kids that they would have a bounce house for them when they got back to school.  He was so excited when he brought back the special calendar to fill it out.  I have had to come up with other goals to try to help him. 

The first every summer is to do the summer reading program at the library.  He reads the 15 books and then he gets his name on the wall and a coupon book. 

We have already used the coupon book to get a free flash light, marigold seeds, pencil, strange plastic bug (not pictured because my son hid it on the window), ear buds, zipper pouch, book and box of ice cream sandwiches.  There are so many other coupons in the book and I hope that we get to use a lot of them.  Sadly, the summer usually runs out before we get to use them all but we always get a good haul!

We love to do lots of stuff over the summer and free is always good.  We have done three of the AC Moore programs where we get to make different crafts for free.  The first was my favorite because it was on the summer bucket list to make a tie dyed t-shirt. He picked the bullseye pattern and the other two kids that I brought used the twist pattern.  They put the rubber bands on the shirts, dipped them in water and then used squirt bottles over a plastic bin and colored the shirt.  We let it set for 24 hours and rinsed it out and this is what it looked like after.  It was pretty fun and now he gets to wear the t-shirt all the time as a reminder of our fun summer project.

Then we went back to make the bucket.  It isn't exactly functional like I was hoping because they just gave him stickers because the picture online looked like it was painted but my son and his friend had a blast making them.  They were slow when we got there so the nice ladies pulled out extra stickers so they could spell their name on the side.  We are not going to be bringing this to the beach because I think that the stickers will collect lots of sand and I think that it is a better bucket to hold things on his dresser where it is now.

We went back another week to do the decorate your own cupcake.  They had cupcakes from the local grocery store already made and they put it on the paper towel for the kids and they had tubes of frosting in a few crazy colors and small sparkly gel frosting in green and yellow.  My son had trouble getting the frosting out of the tube because no matter how many times you tell them that they have to squeeze from the end down, they think you can squeeze at the end and it works the same but it just doesn't.  It is the toothpaste fight all over again!  He loved to decorate with those colored candy balls (which were like small jawbreakers) and yellow sugar to top off his beautiful creation. He still had a blast decorating this cupcake and even more fun eating it out front of the store since I wasn't sure it was going to make it home in the heat without melting. 

All of these projects are easy ones that you can do at home but we really enjoyed going out and getting to do it with some friends and adding some reading really makes the summer go by quickly.  I hope that you enjoy your summer and get a bunch of neat things just for enjoying your summer all year long with the memories!!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Where Azaleas Bloom Book Review

I was so excited to get to the next book in the Sweet Magnolias series and I realized when I picked it up that it was the last in the pile and I needed to get the next one from the library.  I quickly went on the computer and got it reserved.  I sadly realized that we are almost at the end of the series. Where Azaleas Bloom (A Sweet Magnolia Novel)

Single mom Lynn Morrow is determined to put food on the table for her son and daughter. Her soon-to-be-ex-husband has failed to meet his obligations time and again—but it turns out that Ed is struggling with his own problems.  Enter contractor Mitch Franklin, an unlikely knight in shining armor. A widower with two grieving sons, Mitch once admired Lynn from afar since he was 13 years old. Now he sees in her not only the sweet girl who got away, but a woman desperately in need of support. While rushing to the rescue of Lynn and her children comes naturally to Mitch, he's also wise enough to encourage Lynn to find her own way…hopefully straight into his arms.

It was a great start to learn all about two new characters that were already so closely connected to the community and people that we already know.  I immediately felt all the emotions that Lynn was going through and totally related.  It was amazing that she pulled it together and did the best thing for his kids because I know that it is hard for many people to do that.  I understand that she was proud and didn't want charity from anyone but she worked really hard to make the best life for her family while making the best new life for them.  I hope that you pick it up at your local library or bookstore so add it to your reading list soon!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Catching Fireflies Book Review

I was getting to the end of my pile of summer reading when I picked up Catching Fireflies (A Sweet Magnolia Novel)

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Midnight Promises Book Review

I was really behind in writing all my reviews and I was still reading at a crazy speed.  I needed to slow down and write some reviews.  Luckily, I got to spend some time over the weekend to do exactly that.  I wrote two reviews one day and saved two for the next day and I was caught up.  That also meant that I had the week scheduled with all my posts.  I have been so behind on doing anything for the blog because things are still so up in the air.  I am hoping that I will be able to settle down and figure out where things are but until all of the boxes are unpacked, I don't know if that is going to be possible.  Luckily, I have my reading to distract me.  I started on Midnight Promises (A Sweet Magnolia Novel)

When Elliott Cruz first courted struggling single mom Karen Ames, it it was a romance worthy of any Sweet Magnolia fantasy. The sexy personal trainer made it his mission to restore Karen's strength—physical and emotional—and to charm her children.  Now, a few years into the marriage, colliding dreams threaten to tear a few years into the marriage, colliding dreams threaten to tear them them apart. Elliott's desire to finance the business opportunity of a lifetime with their hard-earned "baby money" stirs Karen's deep-rooted financial insecurities. It's the discovery that their brother-in-law is cheating on Elliott's sister—and thinks it's justified—that puts their irreconcilable differences into perspective. Will their own loving fidelity be a bond so strong they can triumph against all odds?

It was a great book with lots of things going on at once.  There was the drama with Elliott and Karen trying to find the best compromises in their marriage after they were both used to living their own lives.  There was even more drama with Adelia, Elliott's sister, when her husband has cheated and disrespected her for the last time.  There are so many things going on that it is hard to say what my favorite part of the book was but I can tell you that I loved it.  It was a great escape from all the unpacking and moving that is still going on here which was perfect for me.  I hope that you enjoy it as much as I did when you pick it up at your local library or bookstore!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Menu Plan Monday 7/27

Monday- Chicken Nuggets Wraps with homemade fries
Tuesday- Olive Oil Pasta with garlic bread
Wednesday- Leftovers
Thursday- Sandwiches and snacks in the car/Pete's Steak Shop
Friday- Grotto's Pizza/Greene Turtle Restaurant
Saturday-???/Italian Restaurant (can't remember name)
Sunday- Restaurants, Restaurants and more restaurants.

Last week went pretty well as planned except that on Monday my husband was at the other house fixing things before home inspection so I breaded and oven fried the chicken instead of grilling.  I got to have lots of great meals with the plans except instead of getting take out egg rolls on the way home from work, my husband came home early and took my little man to the pool and came home with pizza which is nearly the same price and everyone is happy and there is nothing to cook or clean!!  It was a wonderful vacation for me to stay home and relax.  They bought two pizzas so we had lots of leftovers so we got to have a yummy leftover Saturday!

This week is super busy with vacation coming up but I am hoping to plan another easy week that we will all enjoy!  Hope you have a great week too!!!!!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Honeysuckle Summer Book Review

I was excited to get the next few books in the series at the library.  I grabbed a few at one library and picked up another book at another library and I was ready to start reading as soon as I was finished with the rest on the series in my pile (which I knew would go quickly).  Honeysuckle Summer (Sweet Magnolias)

Her devastating marriage behind her, Raylene Hammond is truly thankful for her best friends, the Sweet Magnolias. They've taken her in, shielding her from the world. Then she meets sheriff's deputy Carter Rollins, and suddenly Raylene's haven no longer feels quite so safe.  Carter understands why Raylene is trapped inside. He's even taken to bringing the outside world to her. But with two kid sisters to raise, just how much time can he devote to this woman who's stolen his heart?  Raylene knows Carter is a man worth loving, but she may never be strong enough to accept what he's offering. How long can she ask him to wait? Maybe they'll never have more than this one sweet summer.

This book was dealing with very big issues including domestic abuse and panic disorder.  It was interesting to learn all of the different things that Raylene was going through by not being able to leave the house and how she learns to deal with it. I was amazed at the physical reaction the character had to something that regular people do every day and even more amazed on how she worked to overcome her fears.  Even with the serious topic, there was a lot of family, friends and fun to go along with this great book.  I enjoyed it and I hope that you will too.  Pick it up the next time you are at your local library or bookstore.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Sweet Tea at Sunrise Book Review

I just loved the title of the sixth book in the Sweet Magnolia series, Sweet Tea at Sunrise (Sweet Magnolias) by Sherryl Woods.  I love tea and loved the cover so I was looking forward to reading this next installment of the great series.  Plus, I have been really enjoying the series so I couldn't wait to find out who this book was about.

Emotionally wounded single mom Sarah Price has come home to Serenity, South Carolina, for a fresh start. With support from her two best friends—the newest generation of the Sweet Magnolias—she can face any crisis.  But sometimes a woman needs more than even treasured friends can provide. Sexy Travis McDonald may be exactly what Sarah's battered self-confidence requires. The newcomer is intent on getting Sarah to work at his fledgling radio station…and maybe into his bed, as well.  Sarah has learned not to trust sweet words. She'll measure the man by his actions. Is Travis the one to heal her heart? Or will he break it again?

Loved following these characters through the book and getting to know them more.  There was a lot of changing and growing for all of the different people which I loved to see.  Sarah was dealing with whether she was going to make her marriage work or get divorced.  It was interesting to see how she was dealing with the process and making decisions that were good for her and her kids.  It all worked out for the best.  Stay tuned for coming books to see how it worked out for her ex-husband.  I enjoyed this book a lot and can't wait to start on the next book in the series.  I hope that you pick up this book and others at your local library or bookstore.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Home in Carolinas Book Review

I was excited to get to the next Sweet Magnolia book and see which character was going to be followed. Home in Carolina (Sweet Magnolias) by Sherryl Woods was the fifth book in the series and the next in my reading pile.  I was super glad that I reserved ahead and started it just after finishing the last book.

There's no place like home, especially if it's Serenity, South Carolina. For Annie Sullivan, though, the homecoming is bittersweet. She'd always envisioned a life there with her childhood best friend, Tyler Townsend. But Ty's betrayal has cost her the family and the future they'd once planned.  For Ty, losing Annie was heartbreaking. Still, he can't imagine life without the three-year-old son whose mother left him for Ty to raise. Ty wants it all—Annie, his child and the future he'd dreamed about—and he's back home in Serenity to fight for it. But getting Annie to forgive and forget may be the hardest challenge he's ever faced. With the stakes so high, this is one game he can't afford to lose.

It was great to read the story about the next generation of the Sweet Magnolias.  I enjoyed reading the different generations and how they started to create adult relationships with the moms and girls hanging out together and providing support to each other.  There was a lot going on with Annie trying to deal with moving home and living with her parents while trying to make her own life by working in the Corner Spa to help women with physical therapy and personal training.  She is starting to set up her new life when her ex-boyfriend comes backs to town with his son and turns her life upside down.  It was really interesting to make sure that she stayed healthy and figured out how to live her life the way that things were going to be.  It was just a bonus that things went better than expected!!!  I hope that you pick this up at your local library or bookstore soon.  Great summer reading!!!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Menu Plan Monday 7/20

Monday- Grilled Spicy Honey Mustard Chicken with chicken rice
Tuesday- Chicken Nuggets Wraps with homemade fries
Wednesday- Olive Oil Pasta with pizza bites
Thursday- Chicken Stir Fry with white rice and egg rolls
Friday- Tacos with saffron rice
Saturday- Leftovers
Sunday-Hamburger for my husband, Breakfast for Dinner for my son and me

I know that the week is going to be exhausting after not getting this ready over the weekend and a busy week of fun things to do but I think that we are going to try for a real meal plan and getting back to the way we used to live.  If it doesn't work, I might switch back to the list at least for the summer months until school starts.  We have a lots of meals that are more rushed in the summer because we spend too much time at the pool or out having fun instead of being at home.  I have been working on making things in the morning before we leave the house so that we have less to do at the end of the day.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Learning by State: Maryland

My son was very interested in learning more about the states so I decided to set up a summer learning program for a few of the states near us that we were going to visit and start from there.  We started with Maryland.  The great thing about learning is that you can expand on anything that your child is interested in and make it appropriate for their age or learning level.  My son is 6 years old so I am aiming this at something he would be interested and learn something from including some interesting facts about states we are going to visit.

I downloaded and printed the great resource from Enchanted Homeschooling Mom (found here).  It is very detailed and includes the following:

  • Creative Writing (Make a Travel Brochure)
  • Door Hanger (Completion Certificate)
  • Handwriting Practice
  • Puzzles
  • Research Project
  • State Bird
  • State Capital
  • State Flag
  • State Flag Wall Card
  • State Flower
  • State Location
  • State Landmarks
  • State Wall Card

You can use the things that are helpful for your children's learning and leave out the ones that you might not want to use.  If you are looking for a different state, here is the page with all the states here.

There was another Maryland worksheet (found here) which is nice and simple if you want to print in black and white and just want an easier sheet to fill in with some details on the state.

That same website also had some great word searches which is something my son enjoys and it helps him to slow down and take his time (which is something we are constantly working on).  If you would like to download the Maryland word search, click here.

I also checked out all the books about the state from the library and found them to be mostly boring.  The best ones that I kept were these two.  They didn't have the one that I was looking for so I settled for one with boring pictures and one that might be a little too long.

Then I went to another library and found one of the series that I like.  It is a good length for kids to find the information themselves and not have too much.

Then, I looked at a list of books that were set in the state that gave you a different look at the states from the NEA.  (You can find the list here).  We checked the books out of the library and read one in between some of our worksheets and other learning.

Since we are doing a lot of different things to deal with the states (and tons of other summer things like going to library programs, playgrounds and pool), we are stretching this out to a few weeks for each state depending on how much we get done.  I think that we had a lot of fun doing the worksheets and starting our state binder which we are excited to add information to as we learn about more states. I am aiming for Maryland, Delaware and Virginia for our summer states.  We might do a few through the school year to keep is going but not sure if there is going to be time.  If we only finish three states a summer then we might get through all the states before college!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Welcome to Serenity Book Review

I was sad over the holiday weekend because I didn't get enough books from the library so this was the first book that I reserved while I had extra time because I wasn't reading that came in! Welcome to Serenity (Sweet Magnolias) by Sherryl Woods was the next book that I was so excited to read!!  I was glad that the author carried on the series because I thought that it was only going to be a three box set but super lucky that I get to read more about this great town.

When Jeanette Brioche helped launch The Corner Spa in Serenity, South Carolina, she found a whole lot more than professional satisfaction. She discovered the deep and loyal friendships that had been missing from her life. But even the Sweet Magnolias can't mend the terrible rift between Jeanette and her family or persuade her that the holidays are anything more than a season of misery.  Pushed into working on the town's much-loved annual Christmas festival, Jeanette teams up with the sexy new town manager. Tom McDonald may be the only person in Serenity who's less enthused about family and the holidays than she is.  But with tree decorations going up on the town square and a bit of romance in the air, Jeanette and Tom take a fresh look at the past and a hopeful look into the future. Together they discover that this just may be a season of miracles after all.

It was a great look into a character that we got to hear a lot about in the first three books but didn't know much about.  It was great to learn more about this great character and at the same time, meet a brand new one and get to know him too!!  Learning more about Jeanette gave an interesting perspective into her based on the things that were revealed about her past.  It was also great to meet and get to know Tom with all of the family ties to the Charleston society.  I enjoyed seeing the difference between the two and how that brought them together.  I hope that you enjoy this book and this series as much as I have.  I hope that you add this to you reading list and pick it up the next time you are at the library or bookstore.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Menu Plan Monday 7/13

I did pretty well last week sticking to the plan.  I did go a little overboard at the store but that was mostly because I had my son with me and he picked out two kinds of Pringles and two kinds of cookies so I put them in the cart instead of fighting it.  It isn't like we aren't going to eat them so I went with the easy way. Justifying that, I used noodles at home instead of buying another bag of the noodles we are used to using in the dish.  It was interesting to have the rigatoni noodles in the Philly Cheese steak pasta instead of egg or thinner noodles.  It took a little longer to cook but it was super tasty!!  My only meal that was a little off the mark was the salsa sloppy joe because there was only one container left in the freezer and it was actually french dip so we had those with chicken rice on Friday night instead.

This week I am hoping that we are getting a little more into the groove and can expand our meals to include a little prep but I am telling you that even with the meals prepped for the last few weeks, it has been hard to get dinner on the table before 7 pm because we aren't home!!  The meals for the week are:

Tacos with saffron rice
Grilled Chicken with white rice
Chicken Nugget Wraps with homemade fries
Spaghetti with Pizza Bites
Breakfast for Dinner: Waffles
Quesadillas or Nachos (with leftover taco meat, grilled chicken and rice)

I am not sure that I this is exactly how the week is going to go but I am going to try and see if we can get these meals on the table because we are going to be going on vacation soon so I want to save our restaurant use for when we head to the beach.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Two Books for One- Tea and Destiny and Light of the Stars Book Review

My son was at the library with me and I was waiting to get some books from the hold list and I didn't have any books!!!!  This was near a crisis in my life but I was determined to find something to read while I was waiting for the books to come to my reserve shelf at the library.  My son picked out this book for me because he said that I liked tea :)  Tea and Destiny: Tea and Destiny\Light the Stars (Harlequin Bestselling Author) by Sherryl Woods, Raeanne Thayn was the next book that I was reading shortly after picking it out.

Ann Davies was always giving away her heart—to her therapy patients, and to the dolphins she used to help them. For any stray kid that needed a home, she opened her arms in welcome as a foster mother. She never hesitated to give herself to anyone who asked, until Hank Riley. The big contractor demanded everything—her body, her heart, her life.  Part of her wanted to give it all to him. She craved being desired, being cared for—after all, what had she ever done for herself? But another part feared everything he stood for—losing control, throwing away logic, living for the moment, surrendering. If she allowed herself to do that, what would be left when he walked away?

I thought it was a great book and I was sad that it wasn't part of a series to read any other books about this great little family.  I thought it was good and I would love to read more with these characters.  It was so fast moving that it was hard to put down and I wanted to find out what happens next.  I hope that you check it out for yourself and see how you like this book filled with tea and family.

Bonus Book:

The second book was really a great bonus!  I didn't know it was there when my son picked out the book until he told me.  It is written right on the cover so I guess I would have figured it out but always good to have a helper.  It can be purchased for your Kindle from Amazon but the books are no longer in print but this comes free in the other book so no worries!

WADE DALTON WAS HAVING A VERY BAD DAY! His five-year-old had accidentally set the kitchen on fire. His daughter was surly, as usual. The baby hadn't been fed yet. And his mother—aka "The Childminder"—had eloped…with a scam artist. Could it get any worse?  Turned out it could. Because the annoyingly beautiful daughter of said scam artist was now at the door, batting her doe eyes at him and proposing that she be his temporary nanny while awaiting the newlyweds' return.With no other options and a TV crew coming in just a few days to feature the ranch, he says yes after checking her references.

I loved it and I checked the library to get other books in the series and I see none.  I am super sad and I am going to have to figure out another way to get some of the books but reserved another series that I did find so that I could get a little more of this great writer.  I am hoping to be able to read her new series soon.  The first book is available and the second two are on order and already have a waiting list of 40 people so other people have read her books and enjoyed them too.  I hope that this check out this two book publication to check out both great authors with a whole bunch of great characters.  I think that you will enjoy both of them!!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Wicked Charms Book Review

I went to the library and saw Wicked Charms: A Lizzy and Diesel Novel (Lizzy & Diese​l) by Janet Evanovich and Phoef Sutton on the shelf!  I was so excited so I grabbed it up.  I looked at the beginning and it didn't look familiar so I went to the computer to check my blog to see if I read it.  See what I use my blog for!  It replaces my brain because I wasn't certain whether or not I had actually read it since all the books in the series start with "wicked."  The great news is that I hadn't read it and I was excited to check it out and see what crazy stuff was going to happen in this book.

Murdered and mummified nearly a century ago, notorious bootlegger Collier “Peg Leg” Dazzle discovered and re-hid a famous pirate’s treasure somewhere along the coast of New England. A vast collection of gold and silver coins and precious gems, the bounty also contains the Stone of Avarice—the very item reluctant treasure seeker Lizzy Tucker and her partner, Diesel, have been enlisted to find. While Lizzy would just like to live a quiet, semi-normal life, Diesel is all about the hunt. And this hunt is going to require a genuine treasure map and a ship worthy of sailing the seven seas . . . or at least getting them from Salem Harbor to Maine.  Greed is eternal and insatiable, and Lizzy and Diesel aren’t the only ones searching for the lost pirate’s chest. People who have dedicated their entire lives to finding it are willing to commit murder or make a deal with the devil just to hold the fortune in their hands. One of those people may even be Wulf, Diesel’s deceptively charming and enigmatic cousin. Wulf desires the Stone of Avarice. He also desires Lizzy. It’s hard to say how far he’s willing to go to gain either one.

I loved it and read it way too quickly (I think that it might have been less then 12 hours).  I was sad when I got to the end because that meant the chaos was over and there wasn't another book in the series to pick up and go to because this was the newest.  There was laughing and crying and I couldn't put it down which meant that I again lost sleep to another great book.  I enjoyed the great writing and the great characters.  I am not sure how two authors wrote this book together but the characters held true to the first books and the plots ran just as quickly with as many twists and turns so I couldn't tell the difference.  I hope that you check out this book and others in the wicked series the next time you are at the library or bookstore.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Feels Like Family Book Review

I grabbed the third book in the series before I even had the first two because it was sitting on the shelf at the library while I was there so I figured that I would get to eventually but little did I know it would be so soon. Feels Like Family (Sweet Magnolias) by Sherryl Woods was quickly the next book in my pile and I was eager to read this book with the sunny cover. 

Helen Decatur spent a lifetime setting goals—getting through college and law school, opening her own practice, becoming financially secure and establishing herself as one of the most highly respected matrimonial attorneys in the state of South Carolina. Achieving those goals was a breeze compared to the one she's faced with now.  The most driven—and cynical—of the Sweet Magnolias, Helen is forty-two, single and suddenly ready for the family she's put on the back burner for all these years. Unfortunately, having a child at her age comes with lots of complications, not the least of which is the absence of a serious relationship in her life.  But Helen's not the type of woman to wait around for fate to step in. Taking charge of her own destiny puts her at odds with her two best friends, sets sparks flying with a man who doesn't want a family, and leads her straight into the most unexpected complication of all…love.

I loved this book!  It was a little crazy with some of the things happening but I love that the small town rallies around one of its own to help in any way that they can.  Someone is having trouble at work and they all try to figure out how to work so that she doesn't have to quit her job which is the only thing keeping a roof over her kids head.  There is a great network of friends that are always there for each other and reach out to others to protect those that are important to them.  With a great love story running throughout, what isn't to love about this book?!  I hope that you check out this book for your yourself the next time you are at the library or bookstore.  This and other books in the Sweet Magnolia series are well written with great characters.  I hope that you enjoy them as much as I have!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

A Slice of Heaven Book Review

The second book in the series was reserved at the library but I just couldn't wait for it to come in so I was able to grab it while at another library with my son after we went to a program.  I was super excited and then the book was sitting on my reserve shelf when I went to our branch of the library to pick it up.  So greedy me, I now have two copies that I checked out of A Slice of Heaven (Sweet Magnolias, Book 2) by Sherryl Woods!  I guess I probably can return one now but it won't take long to read the other book so I figured that I would be all set to return them both soon.

When an eating disorder threatens the life of chef Dana Sue Sullivan's teenage daughter, she has no choice but to bring Annie's cheating dad back to Serenity, South Carolina. She tells herself and her friends it's all about Annie, but the sad truth is she has a boatload of unresolved feelings of her own for Ronnie Sullivan.  From the moment Ronnie hits town, there's no question about his intentions. He's there for his daughter, to be sure, but he wants Dana Sue back, and every move he makes is designed to prove he's a changed man. The one thing that's never changed, though, are the sparks that fly whenever the two of them are in the same room. Dana Sue can deny all she wants that Ronnie's the only man for her, but not a single person in town is buying it. No matter the circumstances, Ronnie's return is a sweet recipe for a new beginning.

I was excited to get the second book and start reading about the next interesting character in this great small town (which of course I picked up right after finishing the first one).  It was a serious book that was dealing with the serious issue of eating disorders but there were still some light hearted parts to make it a well rounded book.  I enjoyed the different change of pace with this book with all the ups and downs of the characters who were dealing with their issues and the issues of Annie's eating disorder.  I hope that you enjoy it and pick it up the next time you are at your local library or bookstore.  Of course, one copy is plenty so don't go crazy like I did!!  Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Menu Plan Monday 7/6

I can't believe that we are already in July.  I know that my menu planning and pretty much all other planning has gone out of the window.  It happens a little when summer starts but it doesn't matter what I am making and how many things I have moved to the new house, I seem to always find that I have the one thing that I need still at the other house.  I have been doing my best to move the last few little things over but it seems to be the hardest part.  The menu has been a mess and I think that I missed even writing down what we eat more nights on the calendar because it is still at the other house while I am cooking at the new house most nights.  This is going to be my week to get everything back under control (hopefully).  I finally have my stove top in and working and don't have to use a low powered plug in burner like I was trying last week to get things done!

Here is the list of the meals for the coming week in no particular order:

Chicken nugget wraps and homemade fries
Salsa Sloppy Joes and mac and cheese
Grilled Chicken with chicken rice
Philly Cheese steak Pasta
Olive Oil Spaghetti with fresh basil and garlic bread
Beef Enchiladas and saffron rice

I need to go to the store and get milk, chicken fries for my son, and maybe egg noodles if I can't find another noodle to use instead already in the cupboard.  I have the sloppy joe meat made and in the freezer.  I have the chicken cut and marinating in the freezer.  I have the meat for the Philly Cheese steak pasta cooked and in the fridge.  I have the taco meat for the enchiladas made and in the freezer and the enchilada sauce mixed.  Most of the food is in the house so there isn't a ton of shopping or prep work that needs to be done to pull this off.  With a plan on the table, I feel way more ready to conquer the week.  Here is hoping that this can be pulled off with the busy schedule we already have planned for next week.  I hope that you have a yummy week too!!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Not So Great Month End Report for June

I have been trying my best to keep track of receipts and stay on budget but everything went out the window with the move to the new house.  My budget is $160 for all household products including groceries, cleaners and anything else that I need.  I have been doing okay for the first 5 months of the year as you can see below:

January        $71.46
February    $1.03
March         $61.81
April             $128.55
May              $151.81

Then June came and we were living in two houses and things were never where we needed them.  I thought that we were eating way too much out but at almost the end of the month, I decided to finally write down my grocery receipts.  Holy Cow!!!  I was over budget and it wasn't even the end of the month (and we were out of toilet paper and lots of food).  I hit the store twice with super doubles to make the money stretch even farther but we didn't stay anywhere near budget this month.

Safeway $2.56 for doughnuts

Giant $2.05 for soda to have with dinner

(no picture but it was just two one liter bottles)

Aldi $28.76

Wegman's $19.53

I don't think that I took a picture of this one unless it is on the camera which is currently packed.  I am not sure but I think that this is the one that I grabbed a container of ground beef and went home and cooked it all up for the month so that we would have a bunch of meals in the freezer like salsa sloppy joes, tacos and French dip sloppy joes.  It was great to have them on hand and not a lot of work to get it all done and in the freezer. (no picture)

Walmart $8.02

I got a container of cranberry juice and a mat for the kitchen sink at the new house.  Not really interesting but I think that is all I got. (no picture)

Aldi $14.60

I can't find a picture on this one either but I got chips, cereal, cheese, chicken nuggets, cookies and ice cream sandwiches.  My son said that it would be really nice to have ice cream sandwiches at the new house for a special treat so I grabbed a few other things and stocked up. (no picture)

CVS $21.85 and $12.60 (done in two transactions by my husband)

Aldi $16.41


CVS $0.96

Safeway $2.56 for doughnuts

Wegman's $41.49

I went to the new Wegmans because they sent me coupons.  I went some crazy way that my GPS told me to go and I ended up right next to one of the libraries so I knew where I was!!   I will make sure to plan my next trip to this new store when I am going to the library and I will be all set!

I had a coupon for $1 off frozen food so I grabbed the ice cream sandwiches which were wonderful.  I also had a ibotta deal for $0.20 off pasta and we needed some so I grabbed a box of the Wegman's brand which was $1.  The other things were purely stocking up because we didn't have any food and I got to use my $3 off $15 purchase coupon (easily).  I should have only gotten one meat because I realized when I got to the car that I had a second set of coupons!  The benefit of having two houses was getting two sets of coupons.
Aldi $11.65

I grabbed a bunch of things we were out of like milk, brown sugar, and parsley.  I also refilled the wheat crackers, nilla cookies and fruit snacks that are good snacks.
Harris Teeter $0 OOP

I went to super doubles and got to do a little shopping before going home for dinner.  My mom paid $14.14 because most of things that cost money were hers (yogurt, eye drops, and strawberries) and I was picking up a ton of overages to pay for most of my groceries so my total would have only been around $2.  I even went to the customer service desk because one of my coupons didn't scan so they gave me $2.09 back to my credit card.  Funny that they asked for a credit card and didn't give cash since my mom paid in cash but whatever!

Safeway $2.05 for doughnuts

Harris Teeter $43.86

I went a little crazy especially knowing that I was already over budget for the month but I spent my son's entire time in summer camp at the grocery store trying to make the most of the end of super doubles.  I ended up saving $104.23 with sales and coupons on the whole order.  I got some clearance sausage for under $1 per package which is crazy good since it is close to $5 normally.  I got some clearance lunch meat which was on sale for $3.99 for free after meat coupon and peelie on the package.  I also grabbed some free Tabasco, Apple and Eve juice boxes, and Melt Buttery Spread. My favorite purchase was the chicken fingers that we love which ended up being $1 for the package which we ate for dinner that night.

Total OOP $226.86

I would love to blame it on one bad decision or another but I purchased a lot this month and I was not doing so great with the couponing so there was a lot of make up for with the last 6 months basically not getting the things that we normally do.  I know that I bought a ton of junk food that I normally don't because I am busy making things in the kitchen like breakfast food and treats and we got doughnuts at the store instead a lot!!  I think that $67 over budget isn't super bad considering everything (of course that doesn't count any money spent on take out or restaurants)!  Can't really blame it all on my husband (also known as doughnuts and soda).  Here is hoping that the move is mostly behind us and I won't have to go crazy with so many other things that I can't take the time to do my grocery shopping anymore!  I almost have my kitchen set up so that should help except for a few boxes that I can't find yet, I think that I will be able to get back to least as much as the summer schedule allows.

Friday, July 3, 2015

June Reading Review

I was reading and reading and reading this month.  There was a lot of moving happening and my only break was picking up a book.  I enjoyed one book after the next.  I have spent a little too much time reading and not enough time moving and sleeping but it turned out to be a great summer month!!  I hope that you have had a great start to summer too!!

If you missed the review or want to see it again, make sure you click on the title of the book and it will take you back to the original post.  I hope that you add a few of these to your must read list this summer.

by Richard Mabry 

by Sherryl Woods

by Sherryl Woods

by Sherryl Woods
by Sherryl Woods

by Sherryl Woods

by Sherryl Woods

 Seaside Christmas
by Sherryl Woods

The Christmas Bouquet
by Sherryl Woods

Dogwood Hill
by Sherryl Woods

Summer's List
by Anita Higman

Sandcastle Bay
by Sherryl Woods

Wind Chime Point
by Sherryl Woods

Sea Glass Island
by Sherryl Woods

Two Roads Home
 by Deborah Raney

They Almost Always Come Home
by Cynthia Ruchti

Stealing Home
by Sherryl Woods

Total Books Read 2015

January       9
February     13
March         14 
April           9
May          12
June          17

Total Books    74

Currently Reading: